Miami Mayor Alex Penelas is one of three democratic candidates for Florida’s open senate seat, today he visited the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Tampa, where he spoke about issues ranging from the free trade area of the Americas to the need for affordable healthcare. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer has the story.



Penelas said he is in support of the FTAA and the concept of free trade, but something needs to be done to protect jobs in the United States, which are being lost to foreign countries, where there is cheap labor. Penelas suggested that the US government should not dictate where a private company does business, he thought tax incentives could encourage companies to stay in the US.

ACT “. we can however use our tax policy, you can give incentives..why should we continue with these loopholes that benefit..�

Penelas was asked about the need for affordable healthcare, we said he is in favor of allowing states to buy drugs from Canada, and universal healthcare, but since a national healthcare plan is far off, in the meantime, he would push for a plan similar to one he has created in Miami, which provides for basic insurance for employees of small businesses.

ACT “The concept behind healthflex is to create a product at a reasonable cost….’

Penelas also said that his experience as mayor of Miami, a major international city, has prepared him for taking an office where he will be facing major decisions every day.

ACT “..hurricanes…homeland security these are things I have to deal with that day, I can’t wait until the next day, to red about it in the paper…on homeland security I know what its like, a nuclear powerplant, waste…�

Penelas recently spoke out against US policy in Iraq, saying the war was unjustified and draining much needed resources from healthcare and education. WMNF asked Penelas about United States intervention in Latin American countries such as Venezuela.

ACT “Americans policy has been very inconsistent, I don’t see a very strong position we should be supporting the effort to recall Chavez…�

Penelas, who is Hispanic, was brought into the national spotlight in 1999 during the controversy surrounding Elian Gonzales, a young Cuban boy who became the victim of a tug of war about whether he should b sent back to Cuba. The timing of President Bush’s new travel nod aid restrictions on Cuba will force Penelas clearly state his views on what the US should be doing in relationship to Cuba.

ACT ‘I support the embargo until 3 things happen…if my mother was in Cuba, I should be able to visit her..Bush has been I don’t want the government telling me that I cant visit my mother

Currently, Penelas is running behind both Betty Castor and Peter Deutsch for the democratic nomination for senate; the primary is on August 31st. For more information on Alex Penelas, logon to

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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